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    Ukrainian President Supports Former Georgian Leader Following Strefa Wolnego Slowa Initiative

    The life of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a Ukrainian citizen, now depends only on ethical decisions, declared Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He called for the former head of the Georgian state to be given appropriate medical assistance. “If a man needs medical help, if his life depends on it, it means that this step is necessary,” he added. Saakashvili was presented with the Promethean Award for 2022.

    “Mikheil Saakashvili’s life now depends not on a political or personal, but only on an ethical decision. Which has a clear and strong legal basis,”

    said the president in a recording published on social media.

    “If a man needs medical help, if his life depends on it, it means that this step is necessary,”

    he added.

    He pointed out that the former Georgian president’s lawyers have urgently appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to guarantee Saakashvili proper medical treatment.

    “This seems to be the only way to save his life,”

    he concluded.

    Saakashvili, president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013 and chairman of the Odessa Regional State Administration from 2015 to 2016, is serving a six-year prison sentence handed down in 2016 for abuse of power, which he and his supporters consider a politically motivated punishment. He was sent to prison in October 2021, after which he led several hunger strikes. At the end of 2021, he was taken to the hospital.

    According to many Georgian and Western human rights defenders, the former head of state’s health condition is serious enough to be life-threatening.

    Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was presented with the Promethean Award for 2022, which did not please the pro-Russian government in Georgia, which – through the mouth of its politician Eka Sepashvili – alleged that the former president’s family had paid for the prize.

    MEP Anna Fotyga responded to the allegations of a ‘bought prize.’ 

    “Let the leaders ruling Georgia look at their properties, their tax returns. And then let them look at our properties and tax returns. After all, it is all public,”

    she said after hearing the allegation made by the Georgian government.

    “Of course, they appreciate the stature of this award. It’s a painful thing because I was considered a friend of Georgia, across political divides. I have contributed to a number of decent documents of world stature. The current government is well aware that it was my amendments to Georgia that were in the European documents. When I sided with Saakashvili, they indulged in an ugly campaign. This is happening to several MEPs,”

    she said after being asked whether such an attack was paradoxically an appreciation of the stature of the award.

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